By Charlie Rhodes
The travel and hospitality industry has been tested in new ways in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the U.S. Travel Association, the travel economy experienced $492 billion in cumulative losses between March 2020 through the end of the year. Throughout the pandemic, advancements in automation and technology met the needs of hoteliers. And with recovery in sight, it seems that automation will stay prominent for hotels.
Hoteliers, though, need to assess whether implemented technological advancements are meeting their evolving needs. With a travel boom approaching, hoteliers operating with reduced staff might consider switching to a new property management provider. But, like most hotel technology, property management systems (PMS) experienced significant changes during the pandemic, and the new information available could be overwhelming. When choosing a new PMS, hoteliers should keep a few key factors in mind.
Automation and technological intelligence
Years of technological progress was made in a short amount of time with the advent of COVID-19. At the same time, hoteliers were furloughing and letting go of team members as hotel occupancy decreased. Now more than ever, finding the right PMS system can smooth operational hiccups at properties trying to do more with less staff on hand.
Many advancements came through contactless mobile solutions, which can also be found through PMS providers. Features can range from employee-facing technology to guest-facing services that can be incorporated into the PMS’s core or offered through a third party. Productivity trackers, keyless entry services, and artificial intelligence guest texting services are convenient for guests and allow hoteliers and general managers to focus on other tasks.
Post-pandemic recovery is unpredictable and subject to speculation. Markets are quickly and constantly changing. Revenue management through PMS providers can optimize profits for hoteliers. Some PMS providers offer third-party revenue management services that allow hoteliers to check their competitors’ rates once per day. For those hotels where once per day might not be enough, considering a PMS provider that has constant rate updates and immediate changes can help a hotel get back on track following COVID-related setbacks.
Hoteliers need to consider that there are some using recent technological advancements for hacking and cyberattacking. A hotel’s PMS system is a frontline defense against data breaching. Hoteliers using on-site PMS could consider switching to cloud-based services that might better protect against cyberattacks because on-site systems often store sensitive data, like credit card information. Hoteliers need to research if they are violating data regulations while simultaneously being at risk for cyberattacks.
On the other hand, cloud-hosting PMS providers do not store sensitive information, which eliminates major security and data violation risks. Cloud-based hosting encrypts guest data, and payments can often be made through EMV, which is more secure than traditional payment methods.
Features that fit
New features are a consideration when searching for a new PMS provider, but hoteliers need to assess the provider, too. A provider’s industry reputation, reliability, uptimes, partnerships, and integrations should be considered when choosing a PMS. As a hotel’s needs evolve, a PMS provider should evolve, too. It is important to choose a flexible provider that will integrate new features as travel demand rises. Flexibility is more important now than ever before.
Developments in automation and technology intelligence provided a bright spot during COVID-19 devastation. As hoteliers look ahead, the right PMS provider may play a significant role in their recovery, and the future holds only more promise for the
ever-evolving landscape of hotel technology.
This article originally appeared in Lodging Magazine
Charlie Rhodes is the chief operating officer at Visual Matrix and has more than 15 years of experience in the hotel property management system industry.
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